Use of Fertility Drugs and Risk of Malignant Melanoma: Results from a Large Danish Population-Based Cohort Study

Linn Freund, Susanne K Kjær, Sonia Guleria, Vanna Albieri, Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen, Kirsten Frederiksen, Allan Jensen


Fertility drugs have not definitively been linked to malignant melanoma. By the use of data from a large nationwide cohort of women aged 20.0-45.0 years and living in Denmark between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2011, we assessed the association between the use of fertility drugs and the risk of malignant melanoma. Information on fertility status and the use of fertility drugs was obtained from the population-based Danish Infertility Cohort. Cox proportional hazard regression models were applied to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals with adjustment for potential confounders. The study population comprised 1,330,954 women, of whom 86,231 (6.5%) were treated with fertility drugs. During a median follow-up of 21.0 years, 6,139 women were diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Compared with fertile women, women with fertility challenges who had used any fertility drugs had an increased risk of malignant melanoma (hazard ratio = 1.14; 95% confidence interval = 1.02-1.27). Furthermore, the use of specific types of fertility drugs (clomiphene, gonadotropins, human chorionic gonadotropin, gonadotropin-releasing hormone preparations, and progesterone) was also associated with an increased risk of malignant melanoma, with hazard ratios ranging between 1.09 and 1.13; however, the association did not reach statistical significance. Our findings indicate that the use of fertility drugs was associated with a modestly increased risk of malignant melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of investigative dermatology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)2189-2196.e1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Adult
  • Clomiphene/adverse effects
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Female
  • Fertility Agents/adverse effects
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female/drug therapy
  • Melanoma/diagnosis
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Groups
  • Risk
  • Young Adult


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